Better monitoring of pesticides and GE needed

New Zealand could be a world leader in green agriculture and food production but our reputation is at risk from our increasing reliance on pesticides and unsustainable practices.

Better monitoring of pesticides and GE food is needed, said the Green Party today.

“New Zealand could be a world leader in green agriculture and food production but our reputation is at risk from our increasing reliance on pesticides and unsustainable practices,” said Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning today.

The issues of food safety, modern green agriculture, and sustainability are being discussed at the Food Matters Aotearoa conference this weekend at Te Papa in Wellington.

“The new Food Act is aimed at promoting food safety but it does not demand robust mechanisms for monitoring pesticide residues, and many potentially toxic ingredients are not covered by its provisions, said Mr Browning.

“The increasing importation and approval of genetically engineered foods mean that more and more pesticide residues are coming into the New Zealand food chain. Almost all GE crops are bred to rely on herbicides or insecticides.

“Most pesticides and GE crops have been developed and patented by industrial agriculture for the benefit of its shareholders, and are not designed to benefit people or the planet. 

“The Food Matters conference will be discussing the negative impacts of genetic engineering and pesticides on our food chain and looking at better alternatives to this broken and unsustainable system.

“What we need is green, sustainable agriculture that is good for the New Zealand economy and the health of its people. Unfortunately, at an international level there has been a lot of pressure by industrial agriculture businesses to go down an unsustainable path that relies on pesticides and genetic engineering.

“If New Zealand can buck this trend, there is massive opportunities for us as increasingly people across the world are calling for safe, GE free and organic food, and with our green reputation we are well placed to provide it.

“We should draw on the discussions at the Food Matters conference and develop a new approach for truly sustainable agriculture in New Zealand that benefits our environment, our economy and the health of our people and communities.

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